Opinion Former Article

Pay cuts fuelling recruitment and retention crisis

Teachers’ pay is uncompetitive compared to other occupations and salary levels are putting off prospective new recruits to the profession, representatives attending the Annual Conference of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, have argued.

According to recent research by the NASUWT, 70% of teachers surveyed believe that prospective teachers are being put off a career in the profession because of uncompetitive levels of pay and 82% say teaching salaries are not competitive with other occupations. As a result, 72% say they would not recommend a career in teaching to a friend or relative.

69% of teachers who responded to an NASUWT online survey say they are not paid at a level commensurate with their skills and level of experience.

As a result of the squeeze on pay 35% said they have had to cut back their expenditure on food, 29% say they have had to increase their use of credit, 22% say they have had to cut back on spending on essential household items and15% say they have had to increase their overdraft. 8% said they have had to take a second job.

The findings are being released as teachers at the Conference in Manchester debate a motion calling for a significant cost of living pay rise for all teachers in order to arrest the growing retention and recruitment crisis in the profession.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Despite providing one of the country’s most vital public services, teachers have faced year-on-year real-terms pay cuts.

“NASUWT research shows that the average starting salary for comparable graduate professions is now at least 15% higher than the national starting point for a qualified teacher.

“In order to continue to provide high-quality public education for every child, we need a teacher workforce which is competitively remunerated and to restore teaching as the profession of choice for UK graduates.”


NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Simon Houltby 07920 711 069

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at Manchester Central from 14-17 April.

The online survey attracted 4,908 responses from NASUWT members during February and March 2017.

The full text of the motion is below:

Deborah Long to move,
Keith Page to second:
Conference supports the School Teachers’ Review Body’s Report of 2016 that clearly states that, unless a significant cost of living pay rise is paid to teachers, there will be serious retention and recruitment issues, further exacerbating the current situation in the education system.
Conference urges the National Executive to use all available evidence and appropriate trade union responses up to, and including, strike action to ensure that all teachers gain a substantial pay rise in 2017-18.
(Leeds, North Tyneside)

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